Fond memories of Garret

CLLR Tommy McKeigue led tributes to the Late Dr Garret Fitzgerald at this month’s meeting of Tullamore Town Council.

CLLR Tommy McKeigue led tributes to the Late Dr Garret Fitzgerald at this month’s meeting of Tullamore Town Council.

Cllr McKeigue praised his work and all he had achieved during his life.

“He is a huge loss to society, politics and community life. He was thought highly of across the political divide,” said Cllr Molly Buckley.

Cllr Sinead Dooley said he had mended a lot of bridges and described him as “a true statesman”. She said when he came to Tullamore to canvas for the Lisbon Treaty along with Brian Cowen people were “flocking to shake his hand.”

Cllr Tony McCormack described him as “a very warm, intelligent and articulate man.”

“He lived a very full life,” said Cllr Sean O’Brien, saying that Dr Fitzgerald was a very good economist and was economic advisor to the Williams Group when they were setting up their stores in the midlands. “He gave tremendously to Ireland,” he said.

Meanwhile other local members of Fine Gael have also paid tribute to the late Dr Fitzgerald.

Describing the former Taoiseach as the “father of modern Ireland”, Deputy Charlie Flanagan said he had known Dr Fitzgerald since he was a child.

“He made many visits to Laois/Offaly, including visits to my family home where he stayed on occasion,” Deputy Flanagan said.

The Mountmellick TD said as a student he was inspired by Dr Fitzgerald’s policies and views.

He was leader of Fine Gael, when Deputy Flanagan was first elected in 1987.

“I was disappointed when he resigned at my first meeting of the parliamentary party.”

Deputy Flanagan said he had been in regular contact with Dr Fitzgerald since his retirement.

“His legacy is immense, he was the father of modern Ireland and contributed immensely to Ireland in Europe and Irish social policy.”

Former Laois/Offaly TD, Tom Enright served with Dr Fitzgerald throughout his political career, until the former Taoiseach’s retirement in 1977.

Both Mr Enright and Dr Fitzgerald were first elected to the Dáil at the 1969 General Election.

He described Dr Fitzgerald as “the greatest intellect” he had ever met.

“He played a major role in the peace process and his FG policy document in 1969 and the Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1985 laid the foundation for the Good Friday Agreement.”

Mr Enright continued: “He was one of the most able politicians of my generation and an outstanding Taoiseach.

“He was full of energy and life and brimming with ideas. He was a tremendous worker and expected positive results from everyone.”

On a personal note, Mr Enright described Dr Fitzgerald as a great family man.

“He had great family values and was a great example to people,” he said.

“He broke the trend when he retired from the Dáil in 1989. When some people retire from politics, they don’t take any further interest in national affairs, but Garret broke that trend and was on Prime Time just six weeks before his death.

“His views on the economy were well thought out and positive. He continued to write up until he got sick and his ability to think remained with him. He was able to get his point of view across in his column in the Irish Times which read by officials in the Department of Finance.

“He contributed in his own way to the highly successful visits of the Queen and President Barack Obama in the last week.

“He will be fondly remembered for years to come.”